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A Walk in the Woods – Press Release

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Tony Abatemarco, David Nevell debate politics, life and the
future of the free world in Lee Blessing’s
A Walk in the Woods


LONG BEACH, Calif. (March 22, 2016) — Can personal bonds bridge political chasms? John Henry Davis directs Tony Abatemarco and David Nevell in a brilliant and funny play of ideas by Lee Blessing. A Walk in the Woods opens April 29 at International City Theatre, with two low-priced previews set for April 27 and April 28.

Winner of the prestigious American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award, and nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, Blessing’s dramatic comedy was inspired by historic conversations between a pair of arms negotiators during the Cold War.

In the play, Abatemarco plays Andrey Botvinnik, a cynical career Soviet diplomat, and Nevell is John Honeyman, an idealistic American negotiator. They meet in the woods outside Geneva to explore the obstacles their countries face on the path to peace.

“While today’s politics are different from those of the Cold War, the world’s no less dangerous, and the possibility of a small country touching off a major conflagration by using just one nuclear device grows greater every day,” Blessing recently wrote in an article.

“News about nuclear tests in North Korea and the controversial deal we’ve just signed with Iran have put the issue of negotiation back on everybody’s mind,” says Davis. “But what’s going to grab audiences is the emotional connection between these two characters and the passion with which they express their points of view. This play speaks to our concerns about the dangers in the world today — but it’s also a funny and playful comment on human behavior.”

A Walk in the Woods was first presented as a staged reading during the 1986 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. It was produced on Broadway in 1988 with Sam Waterston and Robert Prosky, who recreated their roles for a PBS television movie. The London production in 1988-89 featured Alec Guinness and Edward Hermann. The play was a nominee for the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 1988 Tony Award for Best Play and the BBC Award for Play of the Year. Recent productions include a 2014 off-Broadway revival that starred Kathleen Chalfont as “Irina” Botvinnik, which The New York Times called “consistently smart and interesting.”

Set design for A Walk in the Woods is by Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting design is by Donna Ruzika, costume design is by Kim DeShazo, sound design is by Jeff Polunas, props are by Patty and Gordon Briles, wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi, casting is by Michael Donovan Casting and the production stage manager is Molly McGraw.

Lee Blessing’s other plays include Going to St. Ives (Outer Critic’s Circle Award, Best Play; Obie Award, Ensemble Performance); Thief River (Drama Desk nomination, Best Play); Cobb (Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble); Chesapeake, Eleemosynary, Down The Road, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid and Cold Water. In the 1992-93 Signature Theatre season: Fortinbras, Lake Street Extension, Two Rooms and the world premiere of Patient A. Recent regional world premieres: A Body of Water at the Guthrie Theater and Old Globe Theatre; Lonesome Hollow, Flag Day and Whores, all at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival; The Scottish Play at La Jolla Playhouse; Black Sheep at Florida Stage and The Winning Streak at George Street Playhouse. Other plays: Independence, Riches, Oldtimers Game, Nice People Dancing To Good Country Music and Perilous Night. Other awards: The American Theater Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, Great American Play Award, Humanitas Award and the George and Elisabeth Marton Award, among others.

John Henry Davis previously directed acclaimed ICT productions of End of the Rainbow and Trying. Other recent directing credits include When Stars Align at the Odyssey Theatre and Dr. Anonymous at the Zephyr. He has directed productions at Playwrights Horizons, the Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center, Dallas Theatre Center, Philadelphia Drama Guild and Baltimore Center Stage. He has worked with actors including Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Elizabeth Banks, Robert Sean Leonard and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and writers and composers such as Beth Henley, Ossie Davis and Jason Robert Brown. For television and film, he directed Oz for HBO, The Sarah Jones Show for Bravo and the award-winning feature film Ordinary Sinner.

Tony Abatemarco returns to ICT, where he portrayed real-life figures Judge Francis Biddle in Trying and painter Mark Rothko in Red. His plays Forever House and Beautified premiered at Skylight Theatre Company, where he is co-artistic director. He founded two L.A. theaters: The Accident Theatre and The Night House. Among his awards: Ovation (Lead Performance), LA Weekly (multiple) and two NEA Directing Fellowships, and he is a three-time Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award nominee for lead performance (including for ICT’s Red). He is a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company. Regional credits: South Coast Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Williamstown, Arena, Folger. NY: Rattlestick, Public Theatre, Cherry Lane. Director: Broadway (Julie Harris, Lucifer’s Child) and London’s West End (Robyn Peterson’s Catwalk Confidential). His extensive on-camera work includes Beverly Hills Ninja 2, Town & Country, Sleeping with the Enemy, HBO’s Sacrifice, The L Word, E.R., Frasier and many more, as well as numerous national commercials. He teaches at USC and SMC Emeritus College.

David Nevell was last seen at ICT as Alan in God of Carnage. Recent credits include Slank/Hawking Clam in Peter and the Starcatcher (South Coast Rep), Vinnie in The Odd Couple (Laguna Playhouse), Orsino in Twelfth Night (New Swan Shakespeare), Brian in The Morini Strad (Colony Theatre) and Charlie in The Scene (Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara). He has been seen at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet), Huntington Theatre Company (Amphitryon), Pittsburgh Public Theatre (The Crucible), Utah Shakespeare Festival (Henry VIII, The Tempest), Geva Theatre (A Christmas Carol), La Mirada Theatre (Crazy for You, On Borrowed Time, My Fair Lady), San Jose Repertory (The Game of Love and Chance), South Coast Rep (Arms and the Man) and numerous productions while he was a Resident Artist at PCPA/Theaterfest (Light Up the Sky, The Winter’s Tale, Arcadia, Macbeth, Amadeus, Anything Goes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, and Twelfth Night). David earned his MFA in Drama at U.C. Irvine, and his BA in Political Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

A Walk in the Woods runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., April 29 through May 22. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $47 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $49 on Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night (April 29), for which tickets are $55 and include a post-performance reception with the actors, and previews which are $35.

International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 East Seaside Way in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or


Details for Calendar Listings
A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods
— Lee Blessing’s brilliant and funny play of ideas, based on a true event, seems more timely than ever. Nearing the end of the Cold War, a pair of arms negotiators — a clever, cynical Russian and an idealistic young American — meet in the woods outside Geneva to explore the obstacles their countries face on the path to peace. There, they debate politics, life and the future of the free world. Can personal bonds bridge political chasms? Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the prestigious American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award.

• Written by Lee Blessing
• Directed by John Henry Davis
• Starring Tony Abatemarco and David Nevell
• Produced by caryn desai [sic]

Previews: April 27 and April 28 at 8 p.m.
Performances: April 29 – May 22

Wednesday at 8 p.m.: April 27 only (preview)
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: April 28 (preview); May 5, 12, 19
Fridays at 8 p.m.: April 29 (Opening Night); May 6, 13, 20
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: April 30; May 7, 14, 21
Sundays at 2 p.m.: May 1, 8, 15, 22

Long Beach Performing Arts Center
330 East Seaside Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

562-436-4610 or

• Opening Night (April 29) : $55 (includes post-show reception with the actors)
• Saturdays and Sundays: $49
• Thursdays and Fridays (except April 29): $47
• Previews: $35